Freezing in Florida
April 8, 2007 12:24 PM   Subscribe

So we headed for Florida to sit on the beach a few days ago, and apparently brought Michigan weather with us. They've been setting records for low temps since we got here.

It's too cold to even walk comfortably on the beach, much less sit. We're on Amelia Island and have a car, but have already done the historic district, as well as St. Augustine. Neither of us is good at guided tours of any kind. We'd be OK walking around, but really didn't bring the clothing for it (at least in this weather). Any ideas of something within an hour or two we could do to fill up tomorrow?
posted by EllenC to Travel & Transportation around Florida (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Savannah, Georgia is a two hour drive from Amelia Island.

If you're in the mood for a scenic road trip you could take A1A South. The drive is quite pretty. I sometimes take A1A from the Daytona Beach area to St. Augustine and always enjoy the drive.

You could always head to a museum in Jacksonville.
posted by LoriFLA at 1:18 PM on April 8, 2007

I live in Jacksonville. If you take A1A South out of Fernandina Beach, you'll go right by the scenic Talbot Islands State Parks. That would be Little Talbot Island State Park and Big Talbot Island State Park. Given that tomorrow it is forecast to be only 62 °F for a high, and 42% chance of rain, walking around in the parks may not seem the most fun thing to do, but there are some pretty white sand beaches, and sometimes, the weather surprises us this time of year.

A few miles farther south on A1A, you'll see signs for the St. Johns River Ferry. Do take it across the river (cost $3.50), saving a 20 mile detour over to the Napolean Bonaparte Broward bridge. Once over the river, there are several fish houses in Mayport, if you're looking for lunch. And you can shortly choose to take Atlantic Boulevard west into downtown Jacksonville (first going over the Intercoastal Waterway), or you can follow signs for A1A south, which will take you first east and then south to The Beaches (being in indistinguishable successsion, the cities of Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach). Numerous chance for shopping and walking all down the route, to the south. I recommend stopping at Peterbrooke Chocolatier in Atlantic Beach, if your sweet tooth is aching (it's on the left, coming out of Mayport, after you go over the Intercoastal Waterway bridge, just at the point A1A makes a sharp right turn to keep going south).

Shortly after Jacksonville Beach, you leave Duval County on A1A, and enter St. Johns County. St. Augustine is about another 45 minutes south. There are some great golf courses in Ponte Vedra Beach, as well as the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, but it may be too cold for you to want to play golf, and there are good course in Fernadina Beach, any way. There are many points of interest in St. Augustine, and once you tire of them, you can head a bit west to I-95, and jump on it for the majority of your return trip north, to Amelia Island. Just exit from I-95 at the sign for Fernandina Beach.

If, instead, you chose to take Atlantic Boulevard west to downtown Jacksonville, and you stayed on it, all the way to the end, you'll find yourself in the historic San Marco district. Good place to park and walk around, with a number of artsy shops to poke through. If you tire of that, you can head over the Museum of Science and History (MOSH), or the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), as LoriFLA has suggested. There isn't a lot of shopping in downtown Jax, and on a Sunday, it's liable to be pretty deserted. But if you're still looking for places to walk, you could head to Jacksonville Landing, and there are restaurants there, too. Once again, you can easily hit I-95 North from downtown Jacksonville, for a fast return trip to Amelia Island.

The roads north to Savannah, Georgia aren't all that scenic, once you're north of St. Simons Island, and so I recommend you just take I-95 North, if you want to go to Savannah. You won't miss anything scenic, and you'll be doing 4 hours of driving, round trip, anyway, so stay on I-95 and get it done, as the Route 17 "coast road" is scenically unrewarding (unless you like vistas of mud salt flats), fairly deserted for miles at a time, and not in sight of the ocean, most of the way.
posted by paulsc at 2:51 PM on April 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

FYI. The weather is still hellishly cold here. Just so you know what you're missing. :)
posted by santojulieta at 7:19 PM on April 8, 2007

Thanks so much for bringing that cold front down! I went to Sea World yesterday, and the high was a balmy 70 instead of the expected 88.
posted by cmyk at 8:36 PM on April 8, 2007

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